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Woven Lives: Exploring Women’s Needlework from the Italian Diaspora

Woven Lives: Exploring Women’s Needlework from the Italian Diaspora

Woven Lives: Exploring Women’s Needlework from the Italian Diaspora examines the significance of needlework in the lives of Italian American women, their families, and communities from the mid-19th century to the present. The exhibition reconsiders the role of needlework beyond its aesthetic value and utilitarian purposes and recognizes it as an extraordinary medium for expressing and preserving culture. Woven Lives showcases a variety of handmade textiles created by Italian American women, from the most humble to the luxurious, items that were part of dowries and those that were fashioned for ceremonial and household use. Taken together, the needlework communicates the experiences, hopes, beliefs, and perspectives of the various generations of Italian American women who practiced the craft. Woven Lives illustrates how traditions survive, change, disappear, and reemerge in immigrant and transplanted communities and sheds greater light on the millions of Italian women who immigrated to the United States.